MANAGEMENT PRACTICES IN EAST ASIAN CULTURAL SETTINGS: ARE THEY ALL THE SAME?
Japan and Asia’s four other industrialized countries (i.e. South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore), together with ASEAN countries and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), are geographically categorized as East Asia. East Asia has one-third of the world’s population, and consists of different political, economic, and social systems. Yet, in discussing management practices, quite often the Orientals are simply lumped together based on an assumption that people in the region, especially those living in Asia’s five industrialized countries, share a common value system codified in Confucianism. Would it be correct to assume that the sharing of such a value system, coupled with the use of a common (or at least similar) language, a racial similarity, a geographical proximity, or any other things, which appear to link these people, are powerful enough to make their practices of management the same? The answer is an emphatical “no”. Even the once-common Confucian system of thoughts has been interpreted differently and diverged over centuries. Perhaps nowhere is this more clear than in the contrast between the Japanese and the Chinese. In this chapter, we will first look at the similarities and differences in cultural values between the Japanese and the Chinese, and then go on to examine the patterns of relationships between culture and management within the East Asian context.